Airport Security Supervisor Pleads Guilty To Stealing $20K Worth Of Stuff From Luggage

It’s bad enough that airlines are charging exorbitant fees for checked luggage; travelers shouldn’t also have to worry about sticky-fingered airport employees swiping stuff from their suitcases.

One such thief is now facing up to 10 years behind bars after pleading guilty to stealing more than $20,000 worth of money and jewelry from luggage during his two-year stint as a security supervisor at Sea-Tac International Airport in Washington state.

The 50-year-old man was fired by the Transportation Security Administration in 2009 after a fellow TSA employee spotted him stealing from checked bags at Sea-Tac.

Unfortunately for those who were victims of the thefts, most of the items stolen could not be recovered because they were melted down.

Sea-Tac security supervisor admits to luggage thefts []


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  1. mergatroy6 says:

    Lock your luggage, but make sure you use one of the locks that can be opened with the TSA master key. Don’t worry, you can trust the TSA not to steal your stuff.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      ha ha?

    • coffeeculture says:

      who the hell puts cash and jewelry in their CHECK-IN luggage? even if i have to gate check something, i throw my $20 timex watch into my backpack before handing it over. what the freakin’ hell…

      • packcamera says:

        Carrying-on valuables does nothing to stop airport theft. One of the oldest scams in the book is a TSA guard thief or independent thief waits for someone to put their bags through the x-ray and grabs the goodies from the other side of thew machine while the victim is busy getting a pat-down.

        • SarcasticDwarf says:

          I have heard the same, but how often does that actually happen? Stealing at the security checkpoint would be extremely risky these days with the number of cameras and TSA personnel there. That isn’t to say it doesn’t happen, but I would think it would account for only a fraction of a percent of thefts.

          • TehLlama says:

            Forget TSA compatible locks – that’s the stupidest thing possible.

            Start traveling with firearms. Problem solved. You get a valet TSA inspection, and your stuff makes just fine.

            • bbf says:

              Of course that won’t prevent the luggage handlers from going through your luggage when it’s out of your sight. It’ll just add hours to each of your trips.

              So are you also the person that would spend $3 in gas to drive 30 miles to save 10 cents?

  2. savvy9999 says:

    LOL, Cash4Gold comes out the winner in this one…?

  3. chaesar says:

    give him the chair

  4. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Well, not trying to defend him, but he’s 50 years old, and have you seen the price of batteries?!

  5. Ladybird says:

    One of the main reasons why I carry on my luggage. I refuse to pay $20 – $50 for the privilege of having some asshat rummage through my personal belongings.

  6. Bativac says:

    Lex Luthor’s father was right: Stocks may rise and fall… Utilities and transportation systems may collapse. People are no damn good.

  7. evilrobot says:

    TSA kitteh screens ur underpants.

  8. Etoiles says:

    This is why anything valuable comes with me in my carry-on.

    Even that doesn’t help, though. I’ve mentioned here before how a good friend of mine had her jewelry (all handmade silver hippie stuff) and all of her used, half-empty make-up (drugstore stuff, it’s not like she drops $200 at Sephora monthly or anything) stolen from inside her make-up case inside her checked luggage. And if you had a connecting flight, you have no idea at which point the items were taken…

    • Bob Lu says:

      If the thief, aka TSA agent really want something in your carrying on, they will tell you that you have to check it.

      If you ask based on what regulation / rule that you have to check this item, they will threat to not letting you board.

      If you still refuse, you are a terrorist, will be taken away and the world will not see you again.

      • Pax says:

        … um, paranoid much? TSA agents really don’t have _that_ much authority. Certainly, not to have you “disappeared”.

  9. aja175 says:

    Good. Give him the full penalty.

  10. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    How long before some very inventive individual starts hiding very small cameras inside his or her suitcase to see who is going through it?

    • econobiker says:

      That is probably some Federal crime to film inside TSA areas.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      It’s almost like my idea to ship a box with 6 cameras and a GPS logger in it, and ship it across the country to watch it’s journey.

  11. ellemdee says:

    People pack CASH in checked luggage?

  12. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    How fucking absurd is it that we just assume that if we slip up and pack something of value in a checked bag that it will be stolen? Or as someone posted above, some creep who likes half-used drugstore make-up? Does the TSA TRY to find the seediest humans possible to employ?

    • Im Just Saying says:

      To put it in perspective, I used to manage a collection agency about 5 miles from Sea-Tac airport. When TSA started ramping up, our pool of applicants dropped significantly (both in numbers and quality), so yes I think they do search for some low denominators.

    • heltoupee says:

      Nope, but their “job goes to the lowest bidder” mentality ensures that they end up with exactly that.

      • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

        Agreed. This seems to go for EVERY employer now-a-days.

      • ghostfire says:

        Employers seem to forget that if you pay bottom of the barrel wages, you get bottom of the barrel employees. Not to mention, when you stretch people super thin, take away their juicy benefits like basic healthcare and any hope of retirement, and heap natural disaster levels of stress on their shoulders, the only ones who don’t break eventually either never had any humanity to begin with, or have managed to safely lock it away.

      • Conformist138 says:

        No joke. I looked into getting a job with the TSA since I’m already in security and they pay better than my current employers. Yeah, a high school education or GED, a clean drug test and background check, and you’re good to go. They don’t need you to have any security experience at all (though they claim it is a plus for hiring).

        At least in my area, if TSA needs new employees, they release a flier and people can just show up for a talk “to hear more details”. Really, an in-person conference to hear about job requirements? Can’t just stick a web address on there and have people submit an application? It seems “Be Efficient and Effective In Nothing” is a mantra truly taken to heart in that agency.

  13. JollyJumjuck says:

    One dishonest TSA employee, and one honest one (the one who caught the thief). Good for the honest one not turning a blind eye.

  14. Chumas says:

    Sentence the sonofabitch to a week in a luggage scanner!

  15. c!tizen says:

    Flying has become the shittiest method of travel available. There is now absolutely nothing good about air travel anymore. The experience sucks right from the get go, such a shame.

    • TheFinalBoomer says:

      I agree with every word. It’s hard to believe that it used to be glamorous. Now every time i get home from an airport I feel like I have a headache and I feel like I rubbed a hot pocket all over my face.

      • cmenter says:

        And yet on any trip of length virtually everyone flies, despite the presence of other options. If I tell a fellow New Yorker that I’m taking a vacation to Mexico, no sane person asks how I’m getting there, because flying is so obviously better than every alternative form of transportation (car, rail, boat) that there’s no meaningful competition between them.

        Long story short, flying is the worst only if you don’t care about speed or price – otherwise the market has spoken and it’s the best way to go.

        • xxmichaelxx says:

          New York to Mexico, yes. But I used to fly from New York to DC or Phila. Today I wouldn’t never consider either. Driving — even a rental — is so much less of a PITA.

          I’d happily pay double to have the old airline rules back, particularly since the new ones do NOTHING to make anyone safer.

        • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

          Unfortunately, no. It will be the fastest but not necessarily the “best.”

        • Willow16 says:

          We took Amtrak from NYC to Kissimmee FL a few years back and it was so much cheaper and more enjoyable than flying. After coupons and discounts, it cost $444 total for a family of four round trip. While it did take 23 hours, we had big reclining seats, could walk around anytime, could plug in the DVD player at our seats and we had some great views.

    • azntg says:

      At least for domestic travel anyway.

      I much prefer spending 16-18 hours + time allocated for airport shenanigans in a metal tube to get to the other side of the blue marble rather than weeks.

  16. tweeder82o says:

    perhaps we get to pat down tsa agents now

  17. tape says:

    this is why I refuse to fly anywhere anymore.

  18. Promethean Sky says:

    Next time I fly, I want to pack something really valuable, with a tracking device hidden in it. Like a digital camera or an ipod or something.

  19. Hoss says:

    So if he was caught in the act once, why did he admit stealing over a two year period? Are they water boarding TSA agents? It feels like he didnt have a lawyer when he confessed

  20. SonarTech52 says:

    Do the people he stole from get their baggage fees refunded?

  21. el-brazo-onofre says:

    That may be where my iPod went at SEA-TAC. I never saw it come out of the scanner and lost and found never got it.

  22. dcarrington01 says:

    There’s a shocker! In other news today the sun is shiney….

  23. dcarrington01 says:

    There’s a shocker! In other news today the sun is shiny….

  24. ZzFDKzZ says:

    There’s a shocker! In other news today the sun is shiney….

  25. slimeburg says:

    TSA should only employ cats. Why ship jobs overseas? We have tons of qualified cats right here at home!

  26. webby says:

    Not to defend TSA, but let’s not forget that luggage and its contents have been disappearing since long before TSA came around. I realize that may not be a popular stance, but one must also realize that those bags are also handled by the airline crew after TSA goes through them. I’m not saying TSA is never responsible for thing missing from bags, but there are several groups of people who have access to the luggage from the time it leaves the passenger’s hands until it gets back to the owner at their destination.

  27. TehLlama says:

    Solution: buy a starter pistol. Only use a large hard case. Lock it. Don’t use a TSA Easy-Break lock, you’re not allowed to use them in this case anyway.
    I deliberately travel with firearms – it’s much nicer. This is the easiest way to do it.

  28. kristin70 says:

    THAT’S where my kitty went! damnit

  29. arcticJKL says:

    “He pleaded guilty to the felony charge of being an officer or employee of the federal government converting property of another to his own benefit.”

    I’m glad to see that it is a particular crime to steal when working for the feds. The penalty should be hanging.

  30. CanterburyBullSkit says:

    That is just crazy. it doesn’t matter a person’s age. My father had just gotten a leather coat as a gift from my Aunt and she even stitched his NAME first and last into the jacket inner lining. And he watched some jackass walk off with it on in the middle of summer and when he went to the airline management, they said he could make a claim, but they couldn’t just walk up to the guy and make him show the coat if his accusations were false. So some jerk that stole from my father’s bags walked away with a coat that he couldn’t take on the plane with him. and believe me, it’s not like my father is a small man, not even just a chunky guy, he’s a BIG GUY and when some skinny little idiot is walking around in like a 4x jacket, you know something is up.